I jumped on the bus looking forward to the journey. The other day I had splashed out on a magazine about Gib in the war, and I figured this would distract me for three hours or so.
But there was a free Spanish paper on the bus so I picked that up and started reading. Actually I did the Sudoku first, and then I started reading from the back.
I like Spanish papers because they aren't particularly tacky. And you get an awful lot of reading for a euro. Well, that's if you pay for them you do.
One of the headlines caught my eye.
"Tres mujeres fallecen asesinadas a manos de sus parejas o ex cónyuges"
- literally - three women die assassinated at the hands of their partners or ex-spouses.
This is three women killed in one day. The women came from Madrid, Cullera (Valencia province) and Valladolid. The paper described it as the most tragic day in Spain for deaths caused by macho violence. Because as well as these three, there was another death in El Puerto de Santa María in Cadiz province - because it was an Andalucían paper, this last death got a separate story of its own. So that brings the horrific total to four.
A 22-year-old Bolivian woman was stabbed by her boyfriend who she was living with. The body was found shortly before 4am and a little while afterwards the emergency services received a call about a 28-year-old Bolivian man who had tried to kill himself. He confessed to the police and told them where he had put the body and the weapon. He had no record of violence or any previous convictions.
This took place in the middle of the afternoon when a 44-year-old woman was shot by her ex-partner while she was with some friends on a terrace in Cullera. The 54-year-old man was detained moments later, and he had previously received two orders to remain away from her.
Shortly before 7pm, a 54-year-old woman was killed, presumably by her ex-husband, who shot her three times. They had been separated for two and a half years after being married for twenty years. The woman used to visit the neighbourhood to see her friends, and her ex-husband, who had no restraining order against him, was able to take advantage of this to kill her. Shortly after the shots, there was a fire in the place where the shots had been come from. When the firefighters got into the house, they found the corpse of the ex-husband who had shot himself with the shotgun.
A 49-year-old woman was killed by her husband while she was in a shop shortly before 4pm. The 56-year-old man was detained a few minutes later by the Police Nacional. The couple had been in the process of separating, and both of them had made formal complaints about each other.
These four deaths bring the total of men who have killed their partners to 17 (or 16 or 18 depending on what source you read) this year. The death in El Puerto is the second one in Andalucía this year. Last year, more than 70 women were killed by their partners or ex-partners.
It's not just a statistic either. Last year a young woman in her early twenties had moved from our village to the local market town. Her partner killed her. Everyone Spanish in the village knew the woman and her family.
Whatever anyone's opinion of Zapatero he has certainly brought domestic violence to the forefront of national politics. Under Franco, domestic violence was not a crime. Since figures started being kept in recent years they show that on average, at least one woman a week is killed by their partner or ex-partner. A new law against domestic violence was one of the first to make it onto the statute books when Zapatero and the Socialists were elected four years ago.
Sadly some men still seem to think a relationship with a woman brings with it some kind of ownership privilege. It doesn't. You have no more rights over a woman that you live with than you do over a man in the street. A woman is not a possession or a chattel. And anyone who endorses or encourages any type of macho culture or behaviour should realise that for many women - it ends in death.
Main source: Granada Hoy
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